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On receipt

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Hardly anyone wants to do without stable Internet reception - even in a motor home. LTE antennas enable surfing on the road even in remote regions.

Hardly anyone wants to do without stable Internet reception - even in a motor home. LTE antennas enable surfing on the road even in remote regions.

Smartphone, tablet, laptop and smart TV - they all require a stable Internet connection. Googling campsites, planning routes and - once you've arrived - streaming a thriller or Netflix series - that only works if reception is good. WLAN networks at campsites and camping sites are overloaded, especially in the evenings, and Internet reception drops to its knees, making streaming unthinkable. The same is true in remote areas, where the reception power of the devices is simply not sufficient.

Special systems consisting of an antenna and router want to close this gap. They optimize the LTE signal and - since they are usually mounted on the roof - have the advantage over the smartphone that reception is not interfered with by the vehicle body (thermal insulation glazing, metal bodywork). Alphatronics, Ten Haaft, Maxview, WiCAR and Travel Vision offer such systems specifically for motor home drivers. They combine powerful LTE antennas with a "Wi" antenna so that the camper can get the Internet into the vehicle both via mobile communications and - if available - via an existing WLAN network. Such MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) antennas use several transmitting and receiving elements, and GPS reception is usually included as well. They therefore send and receive the data stream via several antennas at the same time.

But be careful: To be able to guarantee the best possible reception in heavily used WLAN networks, the system should be equipped with several WLAN modules, such as the Oyster Connect from Ten Haaft. Three chips, one in the outdoor unit and two in the indoor unit, guarantee a seamless flow of data - in line with the individual requirements of the end devices. The antennas transmit the received signal to the router in the vehicle via a data or coaxial cable (not ideal). The cables should be as short as possible because the quality loss per meter is very high. The router in turn sets up a WLAN network that all devices such as smartphones, tablets or smart TVs can connect to.

A SIM card is also required to use the LTE antenna, which is not included in the packages. Those who already have a cell phone contract with a secondary card can use it. Roaming charges have been abolished in most European countries since 2017, but travelers should still check whether the data volume for abroad is limited before departure and adjust this if necessary. Those planning a longer tour in a country can also purchase a SIM card locally - prepaid cards are particularly suitable in this case and ensure that costs remain manageable. In most European countries, however, data rates are much cheaper than in Germany anyway.

Those who dare can install the antennas themselves - cables, mounting brackets and operating instructions are included in the packages. However, a roof duct is required for the connection between the antenna and the router. A specialist workshop is usually responsible for installing and sealing this properly.

WiCAR® fact sheet

The company Antennentechnik Bad Blankenburg (ATTB) launches WiCAR®, a small, compact LTE router that, in combination with powerful antennas, enables Internet access via Wifi or LAN cable, mobile working and extensive infotainment, as well as access to the home network and GPS route tracking. Depending on the model, the hardware box has a wide range of connections and is quick and easy to install. The MyWiCAR® portal offers users a wide range of planning and configuration options. For motorhome users, ATTB recommends the 9004.02, 9009.02 and 9009.03 router models, which are priced between €454.80 and €858.90 when combined with an LTE antenna and an indoor antenna for Wifi reception. They differ in the range of their functions and connections. With the LTE antenna, the customer also has the choice between a windshield and a roof antenna. Those who want the best possible reception should opt for a roof antenna. A disk antenna can be an alternative if the space on the roof is already occupied or the customer does not want a roof feed-through for the RF coaxial cable between the antenna and router. According to ATTB, however, a disk antenna cannot match the performance of a roof antenna. www.attb.de/en/wicar